Posts Tagged ‘lalbagh’

Why I write about my walks..and Lalbagh, 140419

April 16, 2019

I just got this heart-warming compliment from someone named Malu, regarding the descriptions I write (of the bird/nature walks I go on):
“So heartening to read the write up of your sunday outings. Gives people like me a vicarious pleasure in seeing these birds and animals through your words… thank you very much.”

My reply:

To you, and the many people who have written to me ( and to those who, I realize, may not have written but have still read my bird walk reports…because I recently got a query from someone asking where my writeup was !). Thank you for your kind words.

I used to see terse bird reports (not everyone has the time to write!) which went like this: “I went to X place. I saw..” followed by a very interesting list of birds. This always left me thinking about what the person did before, between, and after those bird sightings, and during them. Was there disappointment at not seeing a bird, or a thrill at seeing an unexpected one? Did they pant in the heat, shiver in the cold, or drip in the monsoon rain? That’s when I started writing “with the details”…I hope you are enjoying what I write, as much as I enjoy writing it!

Here’s the last one:

Bangalore may have entered grishma ritu, but in the open spaces, such as Lalbagh, it’s still quite pleasant in the mornings; so some of us decided to go there ahead of the usual 7.30am meeting time at the Glass House. On the lake bund, we enjoyed the blazing blooms of the Gulmohar, and watched the waterbirds going about their business of catching breakfast, and it was nice to see several Checkered Keelbacks resting in the water just at the corner of the fence and the footbridge that cuts across the lake.

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Not so pleasant was the sight of some visitors stoning these creatures, and I am afraid I gave them a piece of my mind!

The young Crested Hawk Eagle that added an unusual touch to our Lalbagh birding has, it appears, left for other destinations. Some of us had visited Lalbagh the previous day, to conduct a nature walk for schoolchildren, and since, most unusually, we did not sight a single keelback, our conclusion was that the eagle had finished them all off and departed. So it was pleasant to see that we were wrong about the “snakes in the lake”, if not about the eagle. I wonder if the Booted Eagle has also left.

Another rather disturbing sight was that of three Red-eared Sliders on the stones in the lake. Dr Suresh, of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, told me that these turtles (native to north America) are very invasive,when I had sent him a photo of one that I’d seen in the lake. Is there any way of netting and sequestering these turtles so that they do not take over the lake? Perhaps, like many lakes now have separate areas for the “visarjan” of idols, we should also have an area where people can release their unwanted pets in a humane way.

The third thing that disturbed me was that visitors seem to think that plucking flowers off trees is a very acceptable thing to do. I went up to a few people who were doing this, but all I got for my trouble was some dirty looks and a “Who are you to tell us this?” manner!

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Visitors treading on flowers that were plucked and thrown on the ground

Well…all this unpleasantness aside…it was a lovely time. There was a cool breeze across the water, and we watched a solitary Grebe, several Little Cormorants

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and Great Cormorants, and the “regular” Darter fishing in the waters; Little Egrets and Purple Swamphens waded at the water’s edge, looking for a snack. Spot-billed Ducks flaunted their colours in the morning sunlight. We went to see the Spotted Owlets, and then shared some pre-breakfast snacks, sitting on one of the lovely wrought-iron seats. Before we knew it, it was time to go the Glass House and start the walk.

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Srinivas and Prasad were there, as usual, and we moved slowly along with them as they pointed out many of the common birds of Lalbagh. A Blyth’s Reed Warbler, some Koels, and White-eyes ensured that our progress down the path towards the Arjuna tree was very, very slow! The Peepal tree had two White-cheeked Barbets going in and out of their nest-holes, and so unconcerned did they seem, that it looked as if one was peeking out from the nest, watching us! This is a new variation of the phrase, “Bird Watching”!

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The Japanese Garden area allowed us to watch several woodland birds, and some White-headed Babblers, the resident Magpie Robin and a Black-rumped Flameback slowed us up considerably.

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Meanwhile, other experienced birders and naturalists who normally participate in the Lalbagh walk, arrived too. MBK brought out information in his usual entertaining way. Prashanth did some excellent sketching, talking to the children (the summer vacation meant we had several on the walk) about the colours of birds.

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As we turned towards the ancient mango tree, we stopped to listen to the Cicadas, and Kesava spotted a Robberfly

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on a Violin-leaf Plumeria plant. Several Common Ceruleans,

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mud-puddling and nectaring on a Cycad, kept us occupied and delighted for a while, too. Several other butterflies were quite active .

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Gardenia sp.

At this point some people asked to see the Spotted Owlet, and I was contemplating taking them to my usual spot, when Srinivas took just a few steps and pointed out one sitting above the netting of the nursery!

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I took the opportunity of asking Srinivas for several plant and creeper ids on the way, and by the time we reached the old mango tree, the call of the White-breasted Iddli had become very insistent in some of us The previous day, I’d found the eatery called “Lalbagh Grand”

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( a very nice alternative to Kamath, where I have been increasingly disappointed with the food)…and off we went to refuel.

The eBird list is

here

I have put up my photos on an FB album

here

The album on Flickr is

here

And….a small thank you to Narahari for the little push that made me write this without further delay!

In the water, in the sun, Lalbagh, 090418

April 9, 2018

Put your head out of the water.
Get a bit of sun.
Try to get some breakfast…
Without becoming one!

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Lalbagh, 9 Apr ’18

Mottled Wood Owl, Lalbagh, 120816

August 12, 2016

Every now and then, the “experts” start fussing that the

Mottled Wood Owls

of Lalbagh have “disappeared”. Immediately, of course the birders and bird photographers of Bangalore are blamed (interestingly never the hundreds of walkers and visitors that go past the place where the owls are.)

So, after a couple of reports that the Owls could not be found, one of them delighted me in its usual copse behind the giant Bauhinia creeper.

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The sexes are alike, according to the Wiki entry, so I don’t know if this is a he or a she!

I took a short video as it hopped across, out of sight in the very low light.

The music is “Night Vision” which is what I needed to see the Owl in the low light…and the band playing it is Bird Creek, which, too, I thought appropriate!

Click on the name of the bird to find out more about this beautiful creature that shares one of Bangalore’s lung spaces with us!

Birds at Lalbagh, 160312

March 19, 2012

This lovely

LITTLE EGRET

was looking for food under its own reflection:

little egrt  lb 150312

this

FERAL DUCK

(domestic duck that’s gone semi-wild)

had a shining droplet of water at its beak:

duck water drp lb 150312

this

PURPLE SWAMPHEN

raised its red leg to walk across the waterlily pads…

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the

ASIAN KOEL (male)

eating figs….

koel with fig lb 150312

CROWS

festooning a tree:

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and of course, the adorable

SPOTTED OWLETS…

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The bird population at Lalbagh may, according to the experts, have gone down by 70 per cent…but what’s left is enough to keep us riveted!

Dusk at Lalbagh, 160312

March 19, 2012

I went to Lalbagh on Friday evening, because a friend wanted to try out the 300mm prime lens. I’ve not often been to Lalbagh in the evening, and was freshly amazed at what one can see and observe, in spite of many more people being there than in the morning.

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Apart from the sights and sounds….were the smells, that cannot be replicated, at the present state of technology. The air was redolent of the scent of the entire lane of Sampige (Champa, Shenbagam)…Michelia champaca, belonging to the Magnolia family, says the scientific mind…but my mind was thinking of how the Sampige is intertwined with my memories of Bangalore…the wonderful smell from the small bunches of these flowers that used to be plucked from roadside trees and sold at Cantonment station!

The evening light, golden and beautiful, highlighted the birds on the lake, and sparkled on the wavelets. My friend was able to photograph a Grey Heron, and several Purple Moorhens (or Swamphens….curse these changing bird-names!) walking around on the waterlily pads.

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We went to see the Spotted Owlets, of course, and it was as delightful to watch them as to photograph them!

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The various trees in flower now at Lalbagh made it a very special visit. I pointed out to my friend the ones that I did know, and am going to find out about the ones I don’t. I showed my friend the majestic beauty of the Monkey Puzzle trees (why are they so named? Must ask Aunty Google!) and we walked down the avenue of the Copper Pods. We saw Little Egrets fishing, pecking suddenly at their own reflections in the water.

The clouds in the sky turned to pink cotton candy as the sun sank slowly westwards…and as we came out of the Siddapura gate, I felt totally at peace, having enjoyed looking at growing, living things in one of the few public green spaces in this concrete-filled city of ours.

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I’ve put up a few photographs on my Facebook album at

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150628329728878.401487.587058877&type=1

…but no photographs can do Lalbagh justice…if you have the time…do visit the lovely park that Hyder, and Tipu, the wise administrators of the Wodeyar dynasty, and some dedicated botanists like Krumbiegel, Cameron, and Mari Gowda, have gifted to all of us!

Colour and photography…

January 28, 2012

Been gallivanting as usual….Lalbagh on the 25th morning, to Gulakmale on the 26th, to Bannerghatta JLR on the 27th, to volunteer with 48 children from Vidya Niketan, Bangalore…. it’s been a wonderful time.

Here is an image of a push-cart seller from Lalbagh:

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And this one, with a shaft of sunlight:

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On the night of the 25th, I also went to “Yamini”, an all-night music and dance festival at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Here’s a photograph of light percolating through the smoke of the mosquito-repellents:

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In the dark, I got the colours of this Bougainvillea because of some back-lighting:

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I enjoy colours very much…and unexpected effects on my MLC!

Lalbagh: Republic Day Flower Show

January 24, 2012

To see my article on Citizen Matters,

click here

and if you would like to see more photographs, and have a Facebook account, you can see them

here

The album is set for public viewing.

Here’s the Glass House at Lalbagh, lit up in the pre-dawn:

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And the beautiful Sanchi Stupa, under construction:

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Post-birding Drama, Lalbagh, 111211

December 11, 2011

Hi everyone,

I’ll be writing about the very enjoyable 2nd Sunday birding outing, especially with the children and teachers of Sri Vani School of Magadi Road….but before that, I have to tell you about events that unfolded just after we dispersed.

When going back, I realized that the “birding bag” I carry (binocs, bird book, water bottle, camera, sketch pad) had been mislaid, and we narrowed it down to the area where we had seen the Spotted Owlet (near the Bamboo thicket). When we went back there, we found a group of people clearing up the dead leaves. We asked them if they had seen a bag, and they shook their heads…but something about their denial made us suspicious. On pressing further, they said they did have the bag, and while Dr Sanjeev Managoli quickly phone the police, they produced the bag.

I just returned from Coorg yesterday evening, so my purse containing all my credit cards, driving licence, and a fair amount of cash, had been in the bag. I found that the purse was missing. My bag was full of dead grass….and the credit cards and driving licence had been taken out of the purse and put in the bag.

We told the cleaners this, and said that we would not move from there unless they produced the purse. When an inspector and a constable arrived on their Cheetah bike, things started getting interesting, with the contractor telling us that if we “did not make a scene” he was responsible for the recovery of the purse. One man then got into the lorry, and magically produced the bag from the pile of dead leaves. Relieved, I gave him Rs.100, which I was carrying in my pocket, as a reward…and then opened the purse.

It was fortunate that I knew exactly how much money was in the purse, because I found that about Rs.3000 was missing from the purse. We told the police this….I was really scared by this time that they would start beating up the man who had been talking in great and unnecessary detail, about how the bag had been open, and so on. But a little threatening, followed by a period when we let the contractor talk to the group, worked wonders. The money, folded just as I had kept it, was brought out from the waist pouch of one of the ladies. As I had withdrawn the amount just the previous day from the ATM, I knew the serial numbers and they matched. We did not press charges….after all, I felt, we had been careless ourselves, and such money would be a temptation….and we left. The police refused to take any money from us, and we thanked them profusely.

The whole process…took about an hour and a half of, alternately, waiting and conversation.

So…if you happen to leave your belongings behind….DO ask the people around, without hesitation. And do call 100 on your phones….the “cheetah” police do arrive, and are very effective in recovering the lost articles/currency.

I am deeply grateful to Dr Sanjeev Managoli, who acted so promptly in both making the phone call, and who also insisted that we must stay until everything was recovered (when I saw that my credit cards and driving licence were in the bag, I was willing to write off the money and leave)….and who made sure that these people got the message that dishonesty might have bad consequences. Without his determined course of action, I do not think I could have even got the bag back, let alone the cash. Thank you, Sanjeev! Thank you also to Apoorva, Kannan, and Bhavita, who ignored their hunger pangs and stood by me throughout.

OK, I’ll write about the delightful morning we had, with the children of Sri Vani School, experienced birders like MBK , Subbu, Swamy, Ranjini, and others, the shutterbug brigade of Wide Angle who sort of came along, too……and new people like Rohan-the-bird-cartoonist who joined the BWFC outing for the first time….after I post the photos to Facebook!

Cheers, from a relieved-at-not-having-been-relieved of cash

Just Flowers, from Lalbagh…

September 8, 2011

Instead of writing about Profound Thoughts and boring the bejeesus out of everyone else, I feel it would be better to post pictures of a few lovely flowers and inflorescences that I have seen lately!

These were all taken in Lalbagh, on Saturday, 030911.

Seems to be a kind of magnolia flower….I used this photo for greeting some friends on their birthdays and wedding anniversaries 🙂

type of mgnlia 020911 lb

Here’s a Zinnia, with some kind of Hopper on it:

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This is called “Colville’s Glory” and is in bloom right now, near the Siddapura Gate:

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Just to clarify to the many people who ask me the difference between water liles and lotuses, here are the water lilies…

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And here is a lotus!

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Here’s a flower that grows directly out of the tree-trunk, which Karthik tells me is related to the Kigelia Pinnata (Sausage Tree):

kigelia type flwr 020911 lb

Here’s the Akasha Mallige (flowers of the Indian Cork Tree), that is also in full bloom everywhere now:

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Here’s a tiny Cosmos, with an insect on it, too!

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When the day is over….

September 4, 2011

When the festival is over, Ganesha does not always merge with the elements and reach Kailasa as he is supposed to. He is often abandoned in public places:

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Similarly, when the patriotic frenzy of “Pandrah August” fades, our country’s flag is cast aside with disrespect:

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Both these photos were taken in Lalbagh. Devotion of any kind…whether to God or to country…is something that should be practised and lived, daily, not indulged in for one day in a feel-good token display.